Today on the blog, we have Melitta Campbell, a Business and Communication Coach, focused on helping women confidently build and grow a profitable business that enables them to live their purpose and secure the balanced lifestyle they desire. So, if you’re someone who is working alone, you don’t need to feel lonely! As a self-taught networking ninja, she shares her tips to create a success circle that can set you up for success, too.
There is one challenge that almost all the entrepreneurs I speak with share. Loneliness.
While many of us have launched our businesses to have flexible hours, to be able to work from home or maybe even to have the liberty to make all the decisions on our own, loneliness can still creep in from time to time. Especially after the last year with lockdowns, restrictions and social isolation, loneliness can take its toll not only on mental health but on business success as well. Fortunately loneliness can be fought and averted with the help of a success circle.
Why a Success Circle Makes All the Difference to Your Business Success
What exactly is a success circle and why is it so important for your business success?
A success circle is a small group of trusted people who understand your challenges as a business owner. They are there to help you celebrate your wins, give you that boost of motivation, just when you need it, and they can help you troubleshoot problems that all entrepreneurs inevitably face. Just as you are there to support them too.
A success circle isn’t the same thing as your audience. It’s the core of your network, and will typically include only from one to five people who really get your mission and want to see you succeed.
6 Steps to Build your Success Circle
Few people have a fully-formed success circle from day one. It’s something that requires conscious effort and also time.
These six steps will help you get started.
1. Search for business besties through networking
Make creating these connections is a priority in your business – so get out there and meet new people!
Both virtual and online networking events work. This needn’t even be at specific networking events. You can also go to cultural events and classes that are aligned to your interests and passions and meet like-minded people that way.
2. Mix online and offline
If you don’t find any interesting events, try joining social media groups and communities and connecting with interesting people there.
Don’t be tempted to hide online to do all your networking though – relationships that are started face-to-face are usually the strongest. So go for a nice mix of on- and offline networking.
3. Be open and interested
When meeting people, the most important first step is to have open body language and an engaging smile. You have to look like someone that person wants to get to know better.
Remember that being an interesting person in these events doesn’t mean you have to talk a lot. In fact, it’s completely the opposite! To be interesting, you first need to be interested.
To do this, aim to speak around 20% of the time. For the rest of the time, give the other person time to speak, and give them your focused attention (this alone is gold!). Ask plenty of thoughtful questions to help you really get to know them, what interests them and what keeps them up at night.
4. Prepare in advance
Before joining an event with your networking pants on, you want to do your homework and research the event and its participants.
Research the event and brush-up on the topic, if needed. Study the participant list to know who else is attending. Finally, set your objectives. Is there something you’d like to learn? Someone you’d like to meet? You can even create a shortlist of those people you’d most like to meet.
Knowing your goals in advance will help you focus on the right questions, people and actions during the event so you will have better outcomes after the event.
5. Look for variety in your network
If you want a strong network, keep an open mind and add people with a wide variety of skills, experiences and backgrounds.
It’s easy to meet people like you, but they don’t always have the breadth of knowledge and experience that will be helpful to you in the different situations you find yourself in throughout your life and career. Those with different perspectives will be able to challenge your ideas and give you insights and feedback that will help you to grow faster and achieve better overall results.
6. Follow up
Networking doesn’t end when the event ends. Follow up with interested people after the event or the initial contact online to start building real, authentic connections with these people.
Always block some time in your diary to follow up with people after the event. Add everyone you meet to your LinkedIn network with a personal note about how you enjoyed meeting them. In this note, be specific about something you discussed so they know you are genuine – this with help to start building trust.
For those people whom you had a particular interest or connection with, take time to stay in touch with them and invite them to a follow-up meeting to explore synergies. This is the point where you’ll start to find people who are a great fit for your success circle.
Be Ready to Pay Back
What makes success circles so special is that they work both ways: your success network helps you grow and you do the same for them.
If you are eager to improve your skills and enjoy building your networking confidence, all the knowledge and guidance you need is in Melitta’s highly actionable and inspiring new book: A Shy Girl’s Guide to Networking.
Melitta Campbell is a Business and Communication Coach, focused on helping women confidently build and grow a profitable business that enables them to live their purpose and secure the balanced lifestyle they desire. She is also the best-selling author behind the ‘Shy Girl’ series of books for women in business. Starting with her advice on ‘Networking for Business Success’, through the series, Melitta shares how she has turned being a ‘shy girl’ into a quietly powerful advantage. You can connect with her on Instagram, Facebook and her Website.
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